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The importance of RNA molecules in switching off genes has recently emerged as an important area of molecular biology. This process was first discovered in plants but also exists in other organisms. As well as protecting organisms from foreign nucleic acids, silencing of genes by RNA molecules can also control gene activity. RNA molecules can silence genes by processes referred to as transcriptional gene silencing and posttranscriptional gene silencing (also called RNA interference). Witold studies both of these processes and would like to know how small RNA molecules (called microRNAs) and the RNA interference machinery cause gene silencing in mammals.